Partners & Simons Sets Sights on ‘Major Clients’

Partners & Simons managers are eager to play on a larger stage—but acknowledge they face a tough battle in the current business climate—as their shop adds up to $50 million in billings and creative director Bob Minihan from newly defunct Holland Mark.

“We have the wherewithal—advertising, di rect marketing, interactive, design—to be brand stewards for major clients” in both the consumer and business-to-business space, said Gib Trub, P&S director of account services and strategic planning. “We now have the scale someone with a big brand needs, but [we are] not encumbered by an operating company.”

The Boston shop will claim billings of $120-130 million, making it New England’s largest independent. That mantle was held by crosstown agency Holland Mark, which closed last Monday. No bankruptcy filing is planned, said Holland Mark CEO Bill Davis.

The deal “does add some profile [to P&S],” said industry consultant Skip Pile of Pile and Co., Boston. “With size comes larger accounts.”

Noting Holland Mark’s failure and the economy in general, Burlington, Mass.-based consultant Bill Montbleau raised a cautionary note. The windfall “doesn’t put Partners in a new league—it makes them a bigger regional agency,” he said.

P&S managers are being careful not to raise expectations too high. “You can have your aspirations,” Trub said. “But in the end, just be prepared to be competitive and do what the market lets you do.”

Teradyne, Veryfine and Yankee Candle are among the accounts that moved from Holland Mark to P&S. Late last week, P&S was in discussions with others, including Dreyfus. Minihan becomes co-creative director and will be joined by up to 12 other Holland Mark staffers.

The shops began discussing the transition a week before Holland Mark closed, with managers recommending P&S to clients, sources said. Neither P&S nor Holland Mark officials would address specifics. Davis said only that he felt P&S, as a midsized generalist agency, would be a good fit for clients and employees.